On Monday, November 20, the trial of former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga kicked off after a six-month-long wait. This after the court rejected a bid by Maina Njenga and 11 other suspects to have criminal charges against them dismissed.
The 12 suspects are collectively facing up to seven counts related to association with the outlawed Mungiki sect. Maina faces additional charges, including allegations of involvement in organized crimes and the planning of criminal activities. These charges specifically relate to an incident at his residence in Wanyororo, Nakuru County, on May 12.
The start of the highly anticipated trial however took a surprising turn when the first prosecution witness, Hannah Njoki, collapsed in the courtroom.
As she took her place in the witness box, the elderly woman’s demeanor suddenly changed.
Upon receiving the Bible to take the oath, a visible tremor overcame her, and she began to struggle for breath. The courtroom was immediately filled with a sense of concern and inquiry as those present witnessed her physical distress. When questioned about her well-being, she responded in Kikuyu, conveying that she was not feeling well.
She exclaimed, “My heart is beating fast, my heart is beating fast,” moments before collapsing, catching the court off guard.
Trial magistrate Kipkurui Kibelion was forced to adjourn proceedings for 15 minutes so that the woman could be assisted. This allowed the prosecution to present its next witness, Police Constable Eric Wainaina.
Ms Njoki on the other hand was guided out through the magistrate’s chambers and provided with First Aid assistance.
Courtroom officers said the woman, who is Mr Njenga’s mother-in-law, disclosed to them that she had not taken her medication for her health condition and had gone without eating anything on that day.
“After giving her first aid, we also gave her food and she got better,” the officer said as quoted by the Nation.
State counsel Wycliff Omwenga confirmed Hannah Njoki was in good condition and emphasized that she is a key witness in the case.
Mr. Omwenga clarified that her breathlessness was a result of the crowded courtroom and the panic she experienced after taking the stand. He mentioned that the witness would provide her testimony at a later date.
“She regained consciousness immediately she was given first aid and has been fine since. We will have her back to testify but that will be on another date,” said the State Counsel.